Georgetown Apologizes, Renames Halls After Slaves

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In a somber remembrance ceremony filled with prayer and song, Georgetown University asked for forgiveness and took new steps to right a nearly two-hundred-year-old wrong on Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of the school’s founding fathers, Rev. Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, began the morning service offering reconciliation to the descendants of 272 women, men, and children sold into slavery to pay off school debts and keep the school afloat in 1838.

“We pray with you today because we have greatly sinned and because we are profoundly sorry,” Rev. Kesicki said. “Forgiveness is yours to bestow in your time and in your way.”

More than 100 descendants of the honored slaves attended the ceremony. Sandra Green Thomas, who wore a green ribbon in honor of her ancestors, was among them.

“Their pain was unparalleled. Their pain is still here. It burns in the soul of every person of African descent in the United States,” Thomas, the great-great-granddaughter of slaves Sam Harris and Betsy Ware Harris, said. “We the descendants return to the home place, our ancestor’s home place acknowledging contrition, offering forgiveness. Hoping for penance and more importantly seeking justice for them and ourselves.”


Mr. Jeremy Alexander, a descendant of the Mahoney family line and Georgetown staff member in the Office of Technology Commercialization, offers an intercession for hope at a Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition, and Hope at Georgetown University. Georgetown University



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